When it comes to alcoholic spirits, the best bourbons and whiskeys are flavorful straight. The rest can be buried inside these bourbon drinks. Or, better yet, hidden in the back of the liquor cabinet.
Bourbon, its caramel and vanilla flavor notes, is often much smoother and sweeter than rye, since it must be made from 51% corn in its mash. To be classified as bourbon, it also needs to be aged in new, charred oak barrels.
From classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned and Hot Toddy to novel creations, here’s a collection of more than a dozen bourbon cocktails that will quench your thirst and keep you warm and toasty on a chilly night. Or a warm, sunny day in the middle of May. Hey, is that our horse out in front?
The Best Bourbon Drinks
1. Apple Cider Mules
This autumnal remix on the classic Moscow Mule is perfect for helping you to unwind after a day of Fall festivities. Or helping you come back to the planet after your sugar excursion thanks to one too many PSLs.
2. Hot Toddy
There’s some debate regarding the origins of this drink and its medicinal benefits, but there’s no denying that the Hot Toddy — made from bourbon, honey, and lemon — is warming and comforting. It’s like a hug in liquid form. Especially if you accidentally pour it on yourself.
3. Maple Old Fashioned
This bourbon drink gets a real one-two punch of maple flavor from maple syrup and Knob Creek’s smoked maple bourbon. The real question is who is the drink fighting? Is this like that time where Link fought battled his own shadow? Is all of this a metaphor?
4. Gold Rush
5. Paper Plane Cocktail
The Paper Plane blends bourbon, a touch of lemon, and both popular Italian apertifs: Aperol and Campari. Finally, you don’t have to choose between the two. Which leaves with one question: what would happen if we added Prosecco?
6. Boulevardier Cocktail
The Boulevardier – which means “man-about-town” in French — is sometimes called the French Negroni or Whiskey Negroni. To make it, you’ll need Campari, high-end bourbon, sweet vermouth, and an orange peel. For a little kick, add a touch of Fireball. And don’t tell any whiskey snobs we said that.
7. Grilled Peach Ginger Bourbon Cocktail
You’ll need to create a thyme simple syrup to really get the full flavor of this summery bourbon drink, but that’ll take maybe 10 minutes. Or five TikTok videos. However you measure time.
8. Vanilla Bourbon Fizz
Fizzy Prosecco perfectly complements the caramel and vanilla notes in bourbon, resulting in this light, holiday cocktail. It’s as well-suited to toasting at a New Year’s Eve party as it is to a low key evening curled up in a onesie front of a roaring fire. Actually the onesie works for both situations too.
9. Bourbon Cherry Cocktail
10. Cara Cara Orange Whiskey Sour
This riff on the classic whiskey sour cocktail uses Cara Cara oranges in addition to the traditional lemon juice. Shaking this drink up with an egg white results in sky high, creamy foam. At this point, we’re very open to alternative ways to reach Mars.
11. Mint Julep
If you can’t make it to the Kentucky Derby, you can make a classic Mint Julep. Unless you don’t have any cocktail tools. If you do, all you’ll need is bourbon, fresh mint, simple syrup, and lots of crushed ice to make this strong drink that will convince you your hat was a good idea.
12. Bourbon Sangria
We get that Sangria is usually made just with wine and fruit, but we’re not here to be persnickety. We’re here to drink. So, throw some bourbon, winter fruits like oranges and pears and red wine in a pitcher and take a sip of this anytime someone asks you an inappropriate question this holiday season.
13. Amaro Averna Cocktail with Bourbon
This is a drink for bourbon fans with a sophisticated palate. And those who are faking it. The Averna imparts herbal and citrusy notes, while bourbon, chocolate, and cherries add some sweetness.
14. Apple Old Fashioned
This variation on the classic Old Fashioned is made with bourbon, bitters, orange peel, cocktail cherries, and an apple cider syrup that’s been infused with herbs and citrus. Might as well make a whole bushel.
15. Manhattan Cocktail
The Manhattan is a classic for a reason. It’s boozy, perfectly balanced, and very simple to make. Mix one up, strain it into a coupe, and feel sophisticated while sipping away on one of these beauties. Even in Jersey.
16. Sweet Tea and Bourbon Cocktail
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